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Great ideas in studio design
Since the Instreamer/Exstreamer pair will each handle two channels of audio, we have one at each of the three sites I mentioned above. Gone are issues with multi-path, fading, and impulse noise. Our EAS sources are consistently available and clean thanks to this modern solution to an old problem.
Being an east coast transplant I can't say I've had that much experience with lightning damage. Back in the Bay Area, we would average two thunderstorms per year (one near the vernal equinox and one near the autumnal equinox usually). I used to have one transmitter site on Mt. Loma Prieta (made famous by the 1989 earthquake) that made use of a T1 STL and twice over my tenure the network interface card got blown up when there were lightning strikes in the immediate area. Even though telco had all the wires buried, there was a big enough EMP induced in them to literally burn up resistors in the front end of the NI cards. I would have to call that a minor inconvenience compared to some of the stories I've heard though.
How can you keep large currents from being induced in wires that are in the vicinity of lightning strikes? The common approaches seem to be shielding — which may not be very effective when big currents get induced in the shield itself — and the use of multiple conductors and/or strap to lower the inductance of the path. Both methods, while helping, are a long way from being 100 percent effective.
What if you could avoid using copper wires to connect multiple points together? Wouldn't that be the best way to outsmart even the most vicious lightning strikes?
The Cumulus Broadcasting stations in Youngstown, OH, are WHOT, WQXK, WYFM, WSOM-AM, WBBW-AM, and WWIZ. This cluster includes two studio buildings and two tall towers (one about 750') all located within 800' of one another. As one would expect, all four sites are connected together, previously by copper wires in conduits buried about 4' underground. Interconnections were made via isolation transformers. However, even with those precautionary measures in place, the stations were spending thousands of dollars per year on repairs directly attributable to lighting strikes in the vicinity of the two towers. As computer networking became more and more commonplace, it became clear to the Youngstown engineers that the interconnection of the four sites via fiber, making use of the old conduits, was the way to go to solve the lightning damage issues.
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Also in the April Issue
- Update on Transmitters
- On-air Missteps to Avoid
- Tower Lease Renegotiation
- New Products
- Applied Technology: Streaming with the MPEG HE-AAC Audio Codec
- Side by Side: Studio Furniture
- Practical Use: Circulators and Isolators